- The U.S. Army plans to field a new armed scout helicopter, the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA), in the 2030s.
- Two companies, Lockheed Martin and Bell, will now build prototypes of their FARA aircraft designs.
- Lockheed Martin and Bell are expected to deliver prototypes in 2023, turning them over to the U.S. Army for testing.
The U.S. Army has selected Lockheed Martin and Bell as finalists to build Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, or FARA. Lockheed’s Raider X (pictured above) will go up against Bell’s 360 Invictus (below). Each company will build one prototype, with the winner chosen in 2023. The service wants to field the armed scout helicopter quickly to fill a critical gap left when the service retired the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.
Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft is envisioned as a combination scout/light attack helicopter to support Army helicopter and ground forces. FARA will fly alongside the Army’s AH-65E Apache Guardian attack helicopter, locating and identifying enemy tank formations and other units. Once identified, FARA would call in Apache helicopters armed with Hellfire anti-tank missiles or rocket and artillery strikes to destroy the threat. FARA would also locate and shadow enemy forces it doesn’t help destroy, ensuring Army ground commanders have the latest intel to plot their destruction.
FARA will be a two-person helicopter externally similar to an attack helicopter but smaller, more nimble. The aircraft’s mission will primarily be to locate and observe enemy forces, particularly columns of tanks, geolocating their position and passing on the data to artillery, attack helicopters, ground forces, and fighter jets.